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A blind man was struck Monday at the intersection of First Street South and 19th Avenue in Willmar, seen above. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene but was located later by the police. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

Blind man run over at Willmar intersection is listed as critical

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- A 58-year-old blind man is in critical condition at St. Cloud Hospital after he was run over by a vehicle around 6 p.m. Monday at the intersection of First Street South and 19th Avenue.


According to Willmar police reports, Thomas Dennis Sykora, of Willmar, was crossing 19th Avenue in the crosswalk, when he was struck and run over by a 2002 Ford pickup driven by Gary Lee Mattson, 55, of Willmar.

Sykora, who was wearing a bright yellow jacket with reflective tape, using a white cane and being led by his guide dog, suffered serious chest injuries. He was taken by Willmar Ambulance to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar and was later airlifted to St. Cloud Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition as of 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Mattson allegedly left the scene, but was located later by law enforcement officers. A witness reported seeing the vehicle stop, pull out to turn and then bounce as it ran over the pedestrian. A Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputy was immediately on the scene and provided medical assistance to Sykora.

The incident remains under investigation by the Willmar Police Department. Sykora's guide dog, Nectar, did not appear to be injured in the incident.